Wednesday, February 22

Devil's Utopia

It started silently, on a Tuesday evening. The day has no significance. The screen glowed green initially. It changes every week or so. The light was metallic green to be exact. The kind that attracts attention fast, something that makes you want to tell you friends, and then just sit and watch it. He walked into the room, as usual following his mechanically perfect routine, unsuspecting of the change. It took him a good minute to realize the glow from the set echoing on the walls. He was surprised for another minute, stood there thinking, recalling for another minute and then walked near it slowly. It was all new to him, it was not there yesterday. Slow minutes passed as he perfected the dimensions of the thing into his brain. Surely it’s artificial and from the looks of it, it’s certainly modern. It went against his conventions.

The first few programs or moving imagery as he termed it showed vivid images of people killing each other. Lots of blood, screams of pain, carnage and rotting flesh. He dared not touch the thing. But then again he could not move away. He had things to do, projects to finish, his grand experiments. Not that the images did not bring any emotions too him, it’s all too new to him. He never saw anything like that before. He’d seen dead people, but not the kind with open wounds, burning flesh or the ones screaming silently dying.

Another week went by and he’s still transfixed to the screen. He noticed that the sound actually fluctuates from time to time. Certain shows were much louder than some. Occasionally there would be a pause of an hour or two. After a few hours he learned that it was to be his rest time too. He went ahead fast, to finish his chores, clean himself, and came back to discover more of the thing, always. On the second week the lights were faint orange. Again one of those colors that captures your senses, seeping slowly into your chemical systems, relaxing you and opening up your brain to everything. The shows this week were all of history. He knew history; it was his favorite subject back at the academy. He learned before how his ancestors came to this barren land and built a civilization. Teaching the natives how to use tools and languages and in return they were given land to settle. But the history programs on the thing were different. It did show his people, or what looked like people with his skin color and language, but then it showed his people suffering more and more in lands far away. How his people were made to slave for other people and fight other peoples war. His people were taunted on the streets, suffered in famine and disease while their masters just kicked them away. Killed them, piled them up high in the street corners and burned their corpses, some still alive. He cried for the first time. Some sort of anger builds up in him, together with hatred towards the other people.

(By the time the screen glowed blue, he already made up his mind. He learned enough of it, enough of what he’d seen so far. He wanted to watch more but the message was there right in front of him.)

It was very clear from the start. He was surprised it was that easy to follow since even his field of interest took decades to understand. When the second week ended, he was already taking notes, part habit, partly to decipher the real message from the thing. He noticed too the rest periods getting longer and longer, like an instruction to him to do something. The programs in the third week were mostly on education. Specifically it teaches how to regain their lost glory. They, his people, their lost rights in lands far away. There was a part of him, deep inside his heart that told him to rationalize, but that was suppressed throughout the weeks. Whoever made the thing, created the content was a genius. Much smarter and real than his invisible masters of rationale, he realized he’s been away from reality for so long. His tools changed, morphed slowly at first, then more and more imposing as the month reached its end. What was a clutter of electronics, wires and small tools were now assembled into something powerful. It was his answer, what he perceived as his contribution to his people.

So now, at the end of the month, the blue screen welcomed him from his short sleep. He sat there, in front of his master, the thing with no name while he ate his food. He’s a different person now, thinner, pale and his eyes are red. The blue screen shows were mostly religious. Calming him, teaching him aspects of his religion he never thought existed. How could he not have known them, he read every single religious book back at the academy, but somehow he missed the most important things. He’s going to be a martyr soon. His name will echo in eternity, a salvation to his people, not some hidden agenda, but something everyone will follow openly. He was amazed on how much he could have done if he discovered his peoples suffering earlier. He was too ignorant, stuck into his books; learning preaching’s of wooden saints, of science and materials. Nobody ever talked of humans. He left his room and walked to fulfill his destiny.

In between the rushing paramedics and wailing siren, they found him. What’s left of him at least. His eyes were frozen, like crystal balls, telling some lost story. His other body parts were pieced together later at the pathology table. The doctors had a hard time matching the scattered parts. So many have died, mutilated body parts lined the floor of the mortuary, ice boxes, numbered with mug shots of their faces, if it still existed. From the security camera they saw his ghostly thin figure, making his way towards the school compound. He was dressed smartly, in his best. But no one is there to know this. He shaved and even wore a tie. The occasional parents outside the school must have mistaken him for a father. It ran for another minute before a flash of light, an ear piercing sound and flying metal parts knocked down the camera. The fact that he hid his face with his hand were a surprise, he was smiling warmly to a little boy who walked in front of him seconds before he blew up.

Half a day later in the news, some obscure group from one corner of the globe claimed responsibility of the attacks. Half a day, it took the news to hit the airways, that’s how common this thing has become. The coroner identified the man as a scientist, still single, in his forties. A week later a group of men and women, found trying to escape into the neighboring country were nabbed and proclaimed to be part of the cell whose ultimate plan ware to blow up the whole city. A month later the final piece of report from the lab revealed the bomb to be of some crude pieced together electronics with solid explosives ingeniously home made. The report also stated that the diagram for the bomb were available on the internet. On the concluding page of the report, the casualty toll of the explosion stood at 343 dead, 89 injured with still a couple of body parts unidentified. A few months after, the gang members were released of detention because of international pressure from human rights groups. They were held without trial and somehow they had a self appointed lawyer. They promptly left the country, their final images showing the group leader holding a flag of their movement. A year later a memorial service is held at the site of the explosion, a monument was erected by a prominent sculptor. Thousands of flower bouquets lay along the road leading towards the now closed school and 343 white doves were released to mark the number of dead identified. A peace group held a candle light vigil throughout the week, while internet sites highlighted the event to the world. The nation’s leader gave a moving speech, later made known through the press to be written by his award winning press secretary. Opposition leaders blasted the leader’s lack of respect for the gravity of the situation. The leader banned the newspaper that published the sensational story. The doves were released exactly at the time the bomb went off. The parents of some of the children wept openly. Someone fainted. A few students who survived hugged each other.

That night everyone around the country sat in front of the telly to watch the news of the event. The newscaster began with…” Breaking new, this just in. A bomb exploded in the city of this far away country. Early reports shows it to be a huge explosion and many were feared dead. We’re getting live images now, from the scene…” Everyone sat there riveted to the screen, an angry orange red light from it casts shadows on their walls. A huge mushroom cloud rose over the city…
-gP2006-
(c) GhostParticle, 2006

11 comments:

Nahuatl said...

Hail Spielberg - 2!!

Whats the name of the movie? Uh.. I mean.. will be.. :D

Maran said...

Replace the bomb with chicken!

karthik m said...

I was reading a novel 'man of the hour' by peter blauner , narrating a lost muslim teen in modern america... trying to avenge through 'hadduta' (means 'bomb')...
i am reading a better one here i think! (it cant be like" one fine day he turned terrorist"...),picture perfect story... may be the last para is not needed... what u say Gp?

Ghost Particle said...

[Nayan] thanx buddy...not yet SS, but then again, what holds the future?

[Maran] That would work fine...hahahah

Ghost Particle said...

[Karthik] I've heard of the novel. I suggest you find books by Ha Jin, he writes realistic war stories.

This story describes in an abstract way, how things as simple as the tv or media can influence someone in the heat of the moment to turn against everyone else. Its true that even a sane person, a balanced rationale person can change for the worse if the situation is vivid enough to influence him or her.

the final para was just to show the continuity, it can be removed, but who knows maybe Ill just write a longer version in the future.

Vincent said...

Hi GP,
Its my first time here.
Good one(a little graphic though ;) ). Reminded me of Donnie Darko.

Balaji S Rajan said...

GP,

Good one... and I wish you give a positive ending...that these things do not come again...

Marutham said...

Hi GP,
Superb template! Romba azhagairukku! Andtheon THAIPOOSAm is fabulous!Thanku for educating on THAIPOOSAM. That too all the wat from there! Kuddos to you! And sanjana is so cute! She would soon like you. Trysitting withher and ask herto teachu some of her games. Tryplaying with her. You 2 willbecome the bestest of best Pals! My wishes to you.
Regards, Marutham.
PS: VINCENT. Very violent!Stop shooting people! ;) Be niceplz.

still_figuring_out said...

ugh. makes me sad! how awful it is that we have to live among maniacs who justify their inhuman acts.

a good post, gp. but a depressing one (for me).

Ghost Particle said...

[Vincent] Welcome here Vince...thanx for the compliment...its supposed to be graphic to convey the idea.

[Balaji] well...a positive ending would have made it a normal future. i wanted to show a realistic future. thank you for the comments!

[Marutham] thanx for all the comments! Yes thaipusam in a little town called SP. u can check the videos in google.

[still] i know...but it had to be like that. ill try to write a nicer one next time.

tamizhan said...

Wow! Semma story! Media is the ultimate culprit you know. Knowingly or unknowingly, their focus on certain aspects of public issues impacts public opinion in unforseen ways.

when

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